Nazis convicted in US escape justice in Germany

Friedrich Karl B., 95, escaped trial in Germany. On February 20, the former concentration camp guard was extradited from Tennessee, US, Frankfurt, after a US court found him guilty of participating in the Holocaust.

Former Nazi guard accused of complicity in 3,518 deaths

Friedrich Karl B. admitted to serving as a camp guard, but told a United States immigration court in 2020 that he had not seen any prisoners being abused, had not heard of any deaths among prisoners. And that he was also not responsible for supervising the evacuation marches from the camp. In Germany, Friedrich Karl announced that he no longer wanted to be questioned. With no surviving witnesses to testify, on March 31, prosecutors in Celle, central Germany, said the investigation was over. There was no new evidence, period. Friedrich Karl, who has lived in the United States since 1959, will likely spend the rest of his life in Germany.

Two visions of guilt

The case of a former concentration camp guard illustrates how the two countries judge the collaborators of the Holocaust: extradited by the USA, the 95-year-old accused will not be tried in Germany and will spend the rest of his life in freedom. The executive vice-chairman of the Auschwitz International Committee in Berlin, Christoph Heubner, finds it strange that the legal systems of the United States and Germany have such different interpretations of the same case: “If the Americans fire people, the German prosecutors have a duty to clarify this,” he comments. But the reluctance of German authorities to deal with the case is not uncommon: Over the past four decades, the United States has deported 70 elderly Nazi collaborators to Germany, and the vast majority have never faced a German court.

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